April Wine: Canada’s Rolling Stones


Another day, another show at the Commodore. This one was a bit of a different experience for me. Being 25, I was definitely in the minority. Given who was on stage, it was most certainly an older crowd. People of my father’s generation. But that still didn’t change the fact that it was still a Commodore show; dancing, moshing, toking, drinking. All the usuals. And why not, old people like to have fun too. (Although the tokes were coming from people of all ages).

Considering April Wine has been together 40+ years, one could argue that they are Canada’s answer to the Rolling Stones. In fairness though, The Stones still hold the record: they have never gone on hiatus – whereas April Wine had a six year break from 1986-1992 – have had a bit more consistency, Watts, Jagger, and Richards have all been there since the beginning and Wood since 1975; even original bassist Bill Wyman lasted 30 years, whereas with April Wine, only Myles Goodwyn has been sole continual member – although Brian Greenway has been with the project since 1977. Bassist Richard Lanthier joined in 2011, and drummer Roy Nichol in 2012 Finally, the Stones, fresh off celebrating their 50th anniversary, have a few more years on the rockers from Waverley. Goodwyn is 65, Greenway, 62, and Richard Lanthier and Roy Nichol are younger than that. By comparison, Ronnie Wood is the youngest member of the Stones at 66 – still one year older than Goodwyn – and original bassist Wyman is 77. I’ll qualify this by saying that Wyman’s replacement, Darryl Jones, is only 52. He is not considered an official member however.  But both bands are inductees into a Hall of Fame though. For April Wine, they were inducted into the Canadian Rock Hall of Fame in 2010; the Stones were welcomed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. Okay, that’s enough of that.

https://i2.wp.com/www1.sk-static.com/images/media/img/col6/20110412-184832-491433.jpgPhoto courtesy of http://www.songkick.com

April Wine are technicians in their own right. Such finesse. Although Myles Goodwyn is the leader and face of the band, he may be the least talented out of the four. Brian Greenway is absolute master master. Not only does his hair rival Brian May’s, but so do his guitar skills. Plus, I have never seen a man play the harmonica like he does. Lanthier is as good a bass player as you will come across and is the textbook definition of solid and steady. The biggest praise of the night though, has to go to Nichol. The soul of John Bonham reincarnated. If you though legendary, epic, drum solos were a thing of a past, you are sorely mistaken. Nichol has crazy endurance; his solo went on and on and on, easily ten minutes… and his band mates were nowhere to be found, just him, alone on the stage.

That is another I admired about April Wine. Goodwyn would introduce a band member and then walk off stage (usually followed by Greenway) while the others got a moment to really let loose. Lanthier had a killer, groovy bass solo. Even Greenway got in on the action. It was an amazing display of musical prowess. Goodwyn knows how to have fun as well. It was a pleasure to watch and listen to music from another generation. That’s the thing about rock music, the best ones always stick around.

Trivia:
1) Richard Lanthier joined the band in 2011. Who was the bass player before him?
2) Along with Goodwyn, the original band members were two brothers and a cousin. What was their family name?
3) Before joining April Wine, Lanthier played in a tribute band for what British legends?

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